Kathleen Wynne’s Spouse Could Be Benefiting From Recent Changes to Autism Services In Ontario


(Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Spouse Jane Rounthwaite Worked as a Consultant in Autism Services While Parents Fought Government in Court in 2006)

As the world celebrates Autism Awareness Day, parents in Ontario got extremely devastating news this past week that needed autism therapy would be no longer available after the age of 5.  Back in 2006 parents in Ontario fought the government on a similar age cut off.

During the last time the province tried to cut this therapy off at an early age, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was the Education Minister and her spouse Jane Rounthwaite was a principle shareholder in The Osborne Group, which is a consulting firm widely used by the publicly funded Autism service provider in York/Durham called Kinark.  According to the Toronto Sun in 2013, Rounthwaite owned a  40% stake in The Osborne Group, and was directly employed by Kinark at the time parents were fighting the age restrictions:

How much she made during those seven years — while the McGuinty government fought a move in court to extend intensive therapy for autistic kids beyond age six — is unknown. Whether her contract was subject to a tender process is also unknown.

Both the premier’s office and Kinark could not provide that information prior to my deadline, despite repeated requests to do so.

A review of Kinark’s condensed statements of operations during that period yielded no information. Nor did finance ministry disclosure documents.

What is also unknown is whether the Ethics Commissioner back then did a full and complete investigation of Rounthwaite’s involvement with Kinark, and whether her involvement with Kinark extends to these latest developments regarding autism services.  The government has earmarked $333 million to “improve” autism services in Ontario.  It is unclear how much Kinark will be receiving as a result, and unclear what other autism public service providers Rounthwaite or The Osborne Group has been involved in since 2006.
What is clear however is the reaction from the parents of autistic kids who will no longer be receiving a critical part of therapy.  I posted this past week on comments left on Autism Ontario’s facebook page by angry parents.  On the Autism Ontario facebook page, the organization provided this statement to parents:

Hi everybody – we’ve been very grateful for all of your comments, thoughts, viewpoints, criticisms, and suggestions. We have taken all of your feedback and delivered it directly to the Ministry so they are aware of the impact their announcement and our response had with the autism community. We are glad this thread has been an opportunity to connect, share information and support one another.

Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services stated in a recent interview regarding the backlash:

“I know that transitions and changes are hard and I know that first-hand as a mother of a child with special needs,” she added.

“Why we’re doing this is to make sure that children get the best possible treatments in the appropriate development window as we’ve been advised by experts and families.”

Parents, who have long disagreed with the notion that autism therapy should be limited to early year development, have started a twitter hashtag #autismdoesntendat5. There are also questions on whether this new policy is discriminatory on human rights, and sources I’ve been in touch with are getting ready to launch a law suit against the province on these recent changes.

What the people of Ontario should be questioning at this time, is whether the experts consulted are tied to Wynne’s family, and why Rounthwaite’s involvement with Kinark hasn’t been fully and completely investigated?
Read more about the government’s decision on cutting needed therapy and parents reactions from across the province here.

UPDATE 4/14/2016: Sue-Ann Levy the investigating reporter was recently interviewed by Toronto radio station am640, in which she also alleges that Rounthwaite could have very well benefited financially from the recent changes to autism policy in Ontario.  That interview can be found here. Rounthwaite made a total of $1,000,000 over seven years with her involvement at Kinark, and worked closely with a member of the expert panel the government hired to put forth the new autism policy.

Also 2 weeks ago I put in a request for comment on this story from Autism Ontario.  They have not responded to repeated requests for comment.  Autism Ontario is currently helping the Wynne government sell this new policy to parents through “webinars”.

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  1. #1 by Ross Maclean on April 2, 2016 - 9:32 PM



    • #2 by Carolyn Collings on May 6, 2016 - 11:03 AM

      No. No she’s not. She doesn’t have the warmth, or the depth!


  2. #3 by Lorraine Measor on April 4, 2016 - 6:41 PM

    If it involves Wynnbag…it stinks to high heaven!


  3. #4 by eighties200 on April 5, 2016 - 9:42 PM

    This is rediculas. .government is crazy..but they can support refugees. .come on..


  4. #5 by Larry Petrucka on April 7, 2016 - 8:23 AM

    God help us, the liberals sure won’t


  5. #6 by Robert Campbell on April 9, 2016 - 12:06 PM

    This article is severely flawed. The author is tying two unrelated situations together simple to attack Wynne.
    One issue is a possible conflict of interest by her spouse, whether her involvement with a Autism service provider was properly tendered.
    The other is about whether her governments changes in policy are the correct ones. Trying to cloud the issue of policy is Bu@#&*t.


    • #7 by Jason Koblovsky on April 9, 2016 - 1:18 PM

      I disagree. No ethics probe has been launched regarding this issue. We don’t know the extent of the involvement Rounthwaite had with Kinark. As far as the policy being the correct one; the policy in question was NOT based on expert opinion nor scientific fact as it’s being sold to the public:


      So what’s the true story here? While the NDP is heading the fight against this new policy, ..the Ontario PC’s had some very interesting questions that relate to this as well:

      The questioning of policy is only Bu@#&*t to those that support it or the party without knowing the facts or questioning the facts due to their allegiances. And we don’t know all the facts because this conflict of interest on this policy hasn’t been properly investigated. Too many families are impacted by this to not raise any questions.


      • #8 by Jason Koblovsky on April 9, 2016 - 6:08 PM

        To reaffirm my position in the above comment:

        Ontario Association For Behavior Analysis (ONTABA) has come out questioning the evidence Wynne based her Autism policy on. They are confirming (not once but twice) they were not consulted.

        ONTABA wants regulation of Autism services in Ontario, and intimidate response within the school system to those affected. And I LOVE THIS: ONTABA also strongly suggesting that Government’s Autism policy announcement not “ethical” and they are deeply concerned.

        Click to access ONTABA%20Response%20to%20MCYS%20Ontario%20Autism%20Program%20April%207%202016.pdf

        So question remains, why were the “experts” left out of the consultations on this policy?


  6. #9 by Marlene on April 10, 2016 - 2:16 PM

    I can`t stand her! She makes me sick! She is the worst thing that could have happened to Ontario!


  7. #10 by Scientist on April 13, 2016 - 4:59 PM

    No matter how the Ontario government want to paint this situation, the bottom line is that this is a cruel and unjust discrimination of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens, similar to how fascists used to decide who live and who dies in concentration camps. You don’t deny treatment to a cancer patient only because the cancer is advanced, this situation is not different. These children have been waiting years for help. The government can find the money by fining and taxing those that pollute the environment, or sell food with chemical additives, or cigarettes; those that in first place are responsible for the Autism epidemic; or simply do not finance parades and a bunch of other irrelevant activities. by the way, why the government do not put an age limit to cover expenses for the sex change surgery?


  8. #11 by mike on April 18, 2016 - 1:08 PM

    Really Rob and we have 1Billion reasons because? Show me who and where to sign up for law suit


  9. #12 by john on May 6, 2016 - 5:18 PM

    Whether this is true or not, the bottom line is Wynne ois involved in to many scandals and every one of them involves money coming out of our pockets. Wynne must go. She’s the worst Ontario Premier that this province has ever seen.


  10. #13 by Murray on May 7, 2016 - 9:31 AM

    2 thieves in action with their ugly snouts in the trough and the public purse. What happened when they went home that night. K had to cook dinner and sleep on the sofa that night???


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